Larry Press

Larry Press

Professor of Information Systems at California State University
Joined on November 3, 2015
Total Post Views: 411,107

About

Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University, Dominguez Hills, has worked in both industry and academia. He has been on the faculties of the University of Lund, Sweden and the University of Southern California, and worked for IBM and the System Development Corporation.

He has consulted to over 40 industrial, government and non-governmental organizations including IBM, Apple, Philips, Sony, Hyundai, RAND, the World Bank, ITU, UNDP, USAID and UNCTAD.

He has worked on data processing, multi-processor operating systems, simulation, decision table translation, simulation of concept acquisition, multivariate data analysis, pattern recognition (discriminant analysis), study of problem solving behavior in executives, computer and network applications in education, computer art, teleconferencing, the history of computing and networking, local area networks, expert systems, software import/export, the study of the global diffusion of the Internet, enterprise networking strategy and applications, wireless networking, municipal networking, telecommunication policy, and IT literacy. He is currently creating a modular electronic text and just finished a study of the Internet in Cuba.

Dr. Press has been studying the global diffusion of the Internet, with an emphasis on policy and technology in developing nations, for over twenty years. He and his colleagues developed a framework to characterize the state of the Internet in a nation, and they, and others, have used this framework in many national case studies and surveys.

He has done studies of the Internet in Russia, Cuba, Chile, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, Singapore, and Vietnam. He is currently working on a project in support of Cuban NGOs. This work has been supported by Rand, The International Telecommunication Union, SAIC, UNDP, UNCTAD, and the US State Department as well as governments in studied nations. Dr. Press was also an organizer and instructor in the World Bank/Internet Society workshops, which trained over 2,500 networking leaders from nearly every developing nation.

Dr. Press has been active in ACM and the Internet Society, published over 240 articles and reports (54 in ACM publications), written two books, edited two book series, and been an editor or contributing editor for several magazines, trade publications and academic journals. He is an active electronic publisher with several blogs, a Twitter stream and a Web site with over 45,000 files.

He has received the CSUDH Outstanding Professor, Distinguished Teacher and Hyundai Outstanding Professor awards, his MBA and PhD in information processing are from UCLA, and he is a fitness nut who does an occasional triathlon and is a better free throw shooter than Shaquille O'neal.

Featured Blogs

Obstacles in OneWeb's Negotiations with Russia

This case illustrates the fact that political, security, and financial negotiations may be as difficult as designing satellites and rockets for a would-be global Internet service provider. OneWeb is investing billions of dollars in a constellation of low-Earth orbit (LEO) Internet-service satellites. In 2015 they placed launch orders for 21 Russian-made Soyuz rockets. more

Google Signs Memoranda of Understanding With Four Cuban Organizations

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel addressed the first annual meeting of Cuba's IT professional society, the Unión de Informáticos de Cuba. In his talk, Díaz-Canel announced that four Cuban organizations - the Havana City Historian's Office, the University of Computer Sciences (UCI), Infomed, Cuba's medical network, and the Ministry of Culture had signed memoranda of understanding (MOUs) with Google. more

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel's Meeting With Tech Company Executives

While Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel was in New York to address the United Nations, he met with members of Congress and executives from the agriculture, travel and information and communication technology (ICT) industries. The ICT meeting was at Google's New York office and ten other companies attended. In addition to Díaz-Canel the Cuban ministers of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Foreign Investment and Communications were at the meeting. more

Might CubeSats Provide Broadband Internet Connectivity One Day?

In November, 2016, SpaceX filed a request for approval to launch 4,425 Internet-service satellites using the Ku and Ka frequency bands. The satellites were expected to measure 4 x 1.8 x 1.2 meters. In February, 2018 SpaceX launched two Internet-service test satellites - TinTin A and B - that measured only 1.1 x .7 x .7 meters. Why the size difference? more

Cuba's 3G Mobile Access Trial - Is the Glass Half Full or Half Empty?

On August 14 at 11 AM ETECSA, Cuba's monopoly ISP, began a 9-hour, nationwide test of 3G mobile Internet access -- anyone near a 3G-equipped cell tower with a compatible phone and a prepaid mobile telephony account could get free access until 8 PM. As far as I know, the only notification was this post on the ETECSA Facebook page, but word of the test and instructions for getting online spread by word of mouth. more

Cuba Testing 3G Internet Access

ETECSA, Cuba's monopoly ISP, has been running free tests of their forthcoming mobile access. It seems that the latest test is over for now, but Andy Garcia (@Dancuba96) ran a speed test before it ended... ETECSA has not announced when commercial 3G service will commence, where it will be available at first and what it will cost, but the following image at the start of the @ETECSA_Cuba Twitter page suggests that service will begin soon they are serious about mobile #Internet access. more

The Impact of Rising Sea Level on Internet Infrastructure

A recent study predicts that rising sea level might result in as much as 4,067 miles of fiber conduit being under water and 1,101 nodes (data centers, Internet exchanges, cable landing points, etc.) surrounded by water in U. S. coastal cities in 15 years. Paul Barford, professor of computer science at the University of Wisconsin, and his colleagues have been compiling data on the physical Internet and making it available to the research community at the Internet Atlas Web portal since 2011. more

Cuban "Technological Sovereignty" - a Walled Garden Strategy?

ToDus, a messaging application described as a "Cuban WhatsApp" and Apklis, a distribution site for Android mobile apps, were featured at the First Computerization Workshop held recently at the Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas (UCI). One might ask, why do we need a Cuban WhatsApp and Apklis when we already have WhatsApp itself and the Google Play Store? more

Will Cisco Make a Comeback in Cuba?

Is the recently announced Cisco Networking Academy at the Universidad de Ciencias Informáticas a belated drop in the bucket or the first step in a significant opening? Cisco dominated the infrastructure equipment market in Cuba and elsewhere during the early days of the Internet, but Huawei replaced them in Cuba... What does this mean? It might be a belated drop in the bucket. UCI has only 19 trained CNA instructors while the CNA curriculum is being taught by over 20,000 instructors at over 10,000 institutions. more

When the Internet Service Provider is Government-Owned Monopoly: Cuba's Forthcoming 3G Pricing Model

Jorge Luis Valdés Hernández, Director de Servicios Convergentes de la Vicepresidencia de Integración Comercial de ETECSA, described the forthcoming changes to their mobile Internet service in a recent press conference. (He also has a very long job title). To be honest, the press conference coverage left me a bit confused, but this is some of what he said as I understood it. more

Cuba on Advances in the "Computerization of Society"

A recent televised roundtable enumerated advances in the computerization of Cuban society, including: Telephone density is 58% with 6.5 million accounts, 5.2 million of which are cell phones. 1.5 million people access Nauta mail with cell phones. Over 1.7 million have permanent accounts. There are 1,713 public-access spots: 709 WiFi locations, over 700 at ETECSA premises and the same number in third-party locations (but 709+1400 is 2109, not 1,713). more

The Internet in Cuba - a Periodismo de Barrio Anthology

Periodismo de Barrio has edited a collection of 13 articles on the Cuban Internet in collaboration with the Internet Policy Observatory at the University of Pennsylvania. The articles cover the history of the Cuban Internet, the legal framework, services, communities, and projects. It is a diverse collection -- something for everyone. Here are thumbnail summaries of each article. more

Telesat Begins Testing Low-Earth Orbit Satellite Internet Service

SpaceX and OneWeb get a lot of publicity and have ambitious plans, but Telesat is the first low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite Internet service provider to begin testing with potential resellers. Last January, Telesat launched a demonstration satellite and it is now ready for testing. Maritime connectivity provider OmniAccess and Australian ISP Optus had committed to testing the system previously and this week they were joined by in-flight entertainment company Global Eagle Entertainment. more

Cuba Reaches Five Million Mobile Accounts

Cubans now have 5 million mobile accounts. The five-millionth account was recently opened Guanabacoa, in the eastern part of Havana and we see here that growth slowed last year, but has resumed -- perhaps due to increased 3G availability. Most Cubans have 2G phones, which are used primarily for making calls and sending text messages that may have attached images. more

A 5G Community Network Strategy for Cuba (and Other Developing Nations)

In a previous post, I suggested that Cuba might be able to leap over 4G to 5G wireless infrastructure using satellite and terrestrial networks for backhaul. While that would require political and policy change, it would be a good fit with Cuban culture and skills. Before talking about Cuba, let me say a bit about wireless generations. Each mobile technology generation used new technology and enabled new applications. more

Cuba's Mobile-Internet Strategy?

This post is speculative, but I think Cuba may use satellite for 3G backhaul and, when the technologies are ready, leapfrog over 4G to 5G mobile connectivity and next-generation satellite. ETECSA began rolling out 3G connectivity for Cubans about a year ago and a few things have led me to believe they will continue... But, could they provide widespread 3G mobile? Doing so would require more base stations and more backhaul from those base stations to the Intenet. more

O3b Satellite Internet - Today and Tomorrow

I have written a lot about the potential of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites for Internet service, but have not said much about medium-Earth orbit (MEO) satellites - until now. O3b (other three billion) is an MEO-satellite Internet service provider. Greg Wyler founded the company, and it was subsequently acquired by SES, a major geostationary-orbit (GSO) satellite company. (Wyler moved on to found future LEO Internet service provider OneWeb). more

Cuban Satellite Connectivity - Today and (Maybe) Tomorrow

In January of 2017, Doug Madory of Dyn Research reported on Cuban traffic, noting that C&W's share had increased. Later in December Madory reported that ETECSA had activated a new internet transit provider, medium-Earth orbit (MEO) satellite-connectivity provider O3b Networks (Other 3 billion), replacing geostationary satellite provider Intelsat. (They have also added Telecom Italia, which, until 2011, owned 11% of ETECSA, but I will save that for another post). more

SpaceX Starlink and Cuba - A Match Made in Low-Earth Orbit?

I've suggested that Cuba could use geostationary-orbit (GSO) satellite Internet service as a stopgap measure until they could afford to leapfrog over today's technology to next-generation infrastructure. They did not pick up on that stopgap suggestion, but how about low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellite Internet service as a next-generation solution? SpaceX, OneWeb, Boeing and others are working on LEO satellite Internet projects. more

Suggestions for the Cuba Internet Task Force

The Cuba Internet Task Force (CITF) held their inaugural meeting last week. Deputy Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs John S. Creamer will chair the CITF, and there are government representatives from the Department of State, Office of Cuba Broadcasting, Federal Communications Commission, National Telecommunications and Information Administration and Agency for International Development. Freedom House will represent NGOs and the Information Technology Industry Council will represent the IT industry. more

The Cuba Internet Task Force - a Win for Trump and Castro

President Obama began working on Cuban rapprochement during his 2009 presidential campaign. After over five years of thought and negotiation, the Whitehouse announced a major shift in Cuba policy, which included allowing telecommunications providers "to establish the necessary mechanisms, including infrastructure, in Cuba to provide commercial telecommunications and Internet services, which will improve telecommunications between the United States and Cuba." more

Using Gerrymandering Technology to Fight Gerrymandering

In 1991, eight high-level Soviet officials attempted a coup that failed after two days. During those two days, citizen journalists and activists used Usenet newsgroups to carry traffic into, out of and within Russia (70 cities). News spread and protests were organized in Russia. In the west, we saw images of Boris Yeltsin speaking to demonstrators while standing on top of a tank and the Russians saw that we were aware of and reporting on the coup. more

Cuba's Odd Emphasis on the National Intranet

In 2014, Cuba embarked on a program for the "informatization" of society and "advances in the informatization of society" was the theme of the short videos by ETECSA president Mayra Arevich Marín and Vice Minister of Communications Wilfredo González... I was struck by the emphasis on the Cuban national intranet, as opposed to the global Internet... This emphasis is reflected in the relatively low price of intranet access and the continued development of Cuban content and services. more

Important Developments on Low-Earth Orbit Satellite Internet Service (2017 Review)

The internet is unavailable and/or unaffordable by about 50% of the world's population. The situation is worse in, but not confined to, developing nations where the service is typically sub-standard when it is available.Geostationary satellite connectivity is available globally, but it is slow and expensive because the satellites are high above the Earth. Low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites can deliver speeds comparable to terrestrial links, but constellations of many satellites would be needed to serve the entire planet. more

LeoSat Satellite Internet Project

I've been tracking Greg Wyler and Elon Musk's plans to launch low-Earth orbit satellites to provide Internet connectivity. Musk's SpaceX and Wyler's OneWeb have been joined by a would-be low-Earth connectivity provider, Leosat. Leosat will not be marketing to individual end users but will target government and business - maritime applications, oil and gas exploration and productions, telecom back-haul and trunking, enterprise VSAT, etc. more

Cuban Satellite Connectivity - Today and (Maybe?) Tomorrow

Last January, Doug Madory of Dyn Research reported on Cuban traffic, noting that C&W's share had increased. And this week Madory reported that ETECSA had activated a new internet transit provider, medium-Earth orbit (MEO) satellite-connectivity provider O3b Networks (Other 3 billion), replacing geostationary satellite provider Intelsat... the time for a data packet to travel from earth to an O3b satellite and back to Earth is significantly less than to an Intelsat satellite. more

An Example of Effective Government Support for New Communication Technology

The October Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee hearing on the commercial satellite industry provides a current example of effective government support of new communication technology. The hearing focused on broadband access, primarily from low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. Witnesses from four companies - Intelsat, OneWeb, ViaSat and SpaceX - testified and the tone of the hearing was set by the opening statements of Committee Chairman John Thune and Ranking Member Bill Nelson. more

Could SNET Become Cuba's Guifi.net?

In an earlier post, I described Havana's community network, SNET, and wondered what it could become if the government and ETECSA were willing to legitimatize and support it. Spain's Guifi.net provides a possible answer to that question. Guifi.net is said to be the largest community network in the world. It began in 2004 and has grown to have 34,165 nodes online with 16,758 planned, 407 building, 612 testing and 4,043 inactive. more

Telesat, a Fourth Satellite Internet Competitor

I've been following SpaceX, OneWeb and Boeing satellite Internet projects, but have not mentioned Telesat's project. Telesat is a Canadian company that has provided satellite communication service since 1972. (They claim their "predecessors" worked on Telstar, which relayed the first intercontinental transmission, in 1962). Earlier this month, the FCC approved Telesat's petition to provide Internet service in the US using a proposed constellation of 117 low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. more

Data on Cuba's SNET and a Few Suggestions for ETECSA

I've written several posts on Cuba's user-deployed street networks (SNET), the largest of which is SNET in Havana. (SNET was originally built by the gaming community, but the range of services has grown substantially). My posts and journalist's accounts like this one describe SNET, but a new paper presents SNET measurement data as well as descriptive material. more

Will Low-Earth Orbit Satellite Internet Service Providers Succeed?

In 1990, Teledesic was formed to deliver satellite-based Internet service. Cellular pioneer Craig McCaw, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal were early investors and Boeing was both an investor and the prime contractor. Teledesic hoped to offer global Internet connectivity using a constellation of 840 satellites in low-Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of 700 km... Teledesic failed. Twenty seven years later three companies SpaceX, OneWeb and Boeing are trying to do what Teledesic could not do. Will they succeed? more

Cuba's (Hopefully Limited) ADSL Expansion

In 2015, ETECSA announced/leaked a plan to make ADSL service available in 50% of Cuban homes by 2020. I was skeptical. Doing so would mean investing a lot of money for obsolete technology between 2015 and 2020. They have recently announced the availability of ADSL connectivity at homes in portions of seven cities and, by December, they say some home connectivity will be available in every province. more

The Role of the BFR in SpaceX's Satellite Internet Service

SpaceX started with their Falcon 1 booster followed by several versions of the Falcon 9. The Falcon Heavy will fly later this year, and the rocket that will take the first person to Mars is called, for now, the Big F*ing Rocket or BFR. The 150-ton BFR payload will be ten times that of the Falcon 9. It will have an extra landing-guidance engine for reliable reusability and SpaceX also expects to be able to soft-land and reuse the second-stage payload rocket as well as its protective nose cone, substantially reducing cost per launch. more

Inevitability of Global Standards for Non-Terrestrial Spectrum Sharing

Three companies, SpaceX, OneWeb and Boeing have announced ambitious plans to put thousands of Internet-service satellites in non-geostationary low-Earth orbit (NGSO) and other companies like ViaSat and SES are currently operating hundreds of communication satellites in medium-Earth and higher, geostationary orbits. With so many satellites orbiting in different planes and at different altitudes, there are bound to be frequent "inline events"... more

Google Global Cache Servers Go Online in Cuba, But App Engine Blocked

Cuban requests for Google services are being routed to GCC servers in Cuba, and all Google services that are available in Cuba are being cached -- not just YouTube. That will cut latency significantly, but Cuban data rates remain painfully slow. My guess is that Cubans will notice the improved performance in interactive applications, but maybe not perceive much of a change when watching a streaming video. more

Can Constellations of Internet Routing Satellites Compete With Long-Distance Terrestrial Cables?

Three companies, SpaceX, OneWeb, and Boeing are working on constellations of low-Earth orbiting satellites to provide Internet connectivity. While all three may be thinking of competing with long, terrestrial cables, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said "the goal will be to have the majority of long-distance traffic go over this (satellite) network" at the opening of SpaceX's Seattle office in 2015. Can he pull that off? more

Fact Checking the Recent News About Google in Cuba

Google's Cuba project has been in the news lately. Mary Anastasia O'Grady wrote a Wall Street Journal article called "Google's Broken Promise to Cubans," criticising Google for being "wholly uninterested in the Cuban struggle for free speech" and assisting the Castro government. The article begins by taking a shot at President Obama who "raved" about an impending Google-Cuba deal "to start setting up more Wi-Fi access and broadband access on the island." more

Boeing's Satellite Internet Project

I recently posted updates on the satellite Internet service projects of SpaceX and OneWeb. OneWeb and SpaceX have received a lot of publicity, but there is a third entry in the global satellite Internet race -- Boeing. Boeing has applied for a license to launch a constellation of 2,956 Internet-access satellites orbiting at an altitude of 1,200 km. (In a subsequent amendment, the orbits were lowered to three different levels). They outlined a two phase plan... more

OneWeb Satellite Internet Project Status Update

SpaceX and OneWeb are formidable, experienced competitors in a race to become global Internet service providers using satellite constellations -- routers in space. I posted a status report on SpaceX last week, now let's look at OneWeb. OneWeb founder and executive chairman Greg Wyler has extensive experience with networking in developing nations. In 2003 his company, Terracom, signed a contract to connect Rwandan schools, government institutions, and homes. more

A New Undersea Cable - Landing in Cuba?

Deep Blue Cable is planning a Caribbean cable - phase one, the solid line shown on the map, bypasses Cuba but phase two shows two Cuban landing points. The phase two cities are not shown, but one appears to be near Havana and the other near Playa Girón. The phase one route survey is underway. Cable installation will begin in September 2018, and it is scheduled to be ready for service in December 2019. more

SpaceX Satellite Internet Project Status Update

I've been following the efforts of SpaceX and OneWeb to become global Internet service providers using constellations of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites for some time. Launch times are getting close, so I'm posting a status update on SpaceX's project... The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation held a hearing titled "Investing in America's Broadband Infrastructure: Exploring Ways to Reduce Barriers to Deployment" on May 3, 2017, and one of the expert witnesses was Patricia Cooper, SpaceX Vice President, Satellite Government Affairs. more

Cuban Professors Get Laptops But No Wifi Capabilities

Late last year, we learned that China's 90,000 employee Haier Group would be producing laptops and tablets in partnership with GEDEME, a Cuban manufacturer that will assemble the machines using Haier parts, equipment, and production processes. Last week, a friend who is a professor at the University of Havana told me that he and other professors have been given GDM laptops. more

What Does Trump's Cuba Policy Memorandum Say About the Internet?

I recently reviewed Trump's Cuban policy speech and its implications for the Internet. The speech was accompanied by a national security memorandum on strengthening US-Cuba policy, which was sent to the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries, and heads of various departments. The first thing that struck me about the memorandum was that it was a "national security" memorandum. Does Trump think Cuba poses a threat to our national security? more

Trump's Cuba Policy and Its Impact on the Cuban Internet

On June 12th, I speculated on Trump's forthcoming Cuba policy and its impact on the Internet. He outlined his policy in a June 16th speech and the Treasury Department published a FAQ on forthcoming regulation changes. It looks like my (safe) predictions were accurate. I predicted he would attack President Obama, brag about what he had done, make relatively minor changes that would not upset businesses like cruise lines, airlines, and telecommunication and hotel companies. more

Questions About Cuba's 3G Mobile Expansion

ETECSA, Cuba's telecom provider and sole operator of fixed telephony, mobile, and data in the country, is rolling out 3G mobile service in Havana and elsewhere in the country. Telegeography reports there are now 229 3G base stations in Cuba... ETECSA says 3G coverage is available in all of Havana, provincial capitals and tourist resorts. AT&T says there is GSM/GPRS coverage for 85% of national territory. more

Speculation on Trump's Forthcoming Cuba Policy Speech and Its Impact on the Cuban Internet

Trump has a dilemma. He has to take some executive action that will allow him to ridicule President Obama and show that he is punishing Cuba for its human rights violations and the confiscation of businesses and property after the revolution, but not harm US telephone companies, hotel chains, airlines and cruise lines. Trump is expected to announce his Cuba policy next Friday in Miami. There can be little doubt that he will reverse some of President Obama's executive orders... more

Why Not Connect Cuba's Gaspar Social Streetnet to the Internet?

I've been covering Cuban streetnets (local area networks with independent users that are not connected to the Internet) for some time. Reader Doug Madory told me about Gaspar Social, a new streetnet in Gaspar, a small town in central Cuba. Gaspar Social opened to the public last October and has grown quickly -- about 500 of Gaspar's 7,500 residents are now users. Streetnets are illegal in Cuba and the government has ignored some and cracked down on others... more

Trying to Predict Miguel Diaz-Canel's Internet Policy

I recently gave a short talk that concluded with some speculation on the attitude of Miguel Diaz-Canel, who is expected to replace Raúl Castro next year, toward the Internet. I searched online and came up with three clues -- two talks he has given and one act. In May 2013, Diaz-Canel gave a speech at an educator's conference in which he anticipated today's preoccupation with fake news. He acknowledged the futility of trying to control information. more

Three Generations of Cuban WiFi Hotspot Sharing

As soon as ETECSA began installing public access WiFi hotspots, black market resellers began sharing connections. They would connect a laptop to an ETECSA account then use pirated copies of Connectify, a connection sharing program running on the laptop, to create small WiFi hotspots of their own. At the time, ETECSA charged 2 CUC per hour online (two day's pay for many Cubans) and the re-sellers typically charged 1 CUC per hour. They broke even with two users and made a profit with more. more

Why Did't the Internet Zap Singapore's Straits Times Newspaper?

US papers employed 56,900 full-time journalists in 1990, the year Tim Berners Lee began testing his World Wide Web software, and they employed 32,900 in 2015. The disruption of the newspaper business began 22 years ago, when Craig Newmark launched his classified ad site, Craigslist. (Note that Newmark now generously supports investigative journalism and fact-checking organizations). Newspapers have adapted to the Internet by adding digital editions, but they generate less ad revenue than print editions have lost. more

Two Approaches to Routers in Space: SpaceX and OneWeb

Two companies hope to revolutionize the Internet by providing global connectivity using constellations of low-earth orbit satellites -- Elon Musk's SpaceX and Greg Wyler's OneWeb. It seems that SpaceX gets a lot more publicity than OneWeb, but both are formidable... SpaceX is integrated -- building the rockets, satellites and ground stations themselves -- while OneWeb has a number of collaborators and investors, including Bharti Enterprises, Coca-Cola, Intelsat, Hughes, Totalplay Telecommunications, Virgin Galactic and Softbank. more

There Is No Cuban Home Internet Plan - And That's Good News

I've followed Cuba's home-connectivity "plan" from the time it was leaked in 2015 until the recent Havana home Internet trial. I thought the plan was a bad idea when it was leaked -- it calls for installation of obsolete DSL (digital subscriber line) technology -- and now that the Havana trial is complete, I question whether the plan was real. ETECSA denied the validity of the leaked presentation at the time, and their definition of "broadband" was "at least 256 kb/s." more

Do-It-Yourself Rural Fiber

Necessity has led Cubans to become do-it yourself (DIY) inventors -- keeping old cars running, building strange, motorized bicycles, etc. They've also created DIY information technology like software, El Paquete Semanal, street nets and WiFi hotspot workarounds. Last June the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) adopted a standard for "low-cost sustainable telecommunications infrastructure for rural communications in developing countries," L.1700. L.1700 cable should be of interest to both DIY technologists and ETECSA. more

Do-It-Yourself Rural Fiber

I doubt that any elementary school in the US has fiber to the premises, but, in 2013, an elementary school in rural Bhutan was connected to the Internet using optical fiber in the "last mile." They were able to connect the school because the cabling they used, metal-packed armored cable (M-PAC), which is modeled on undersea cables, does not have to be in a protective duct. It is 4mm in diameter, light and flexible, so it can be installed by supervised volunteers or unskilled workers.
 more

The Cuban Home-Connectivity Trial Ends This Week, Rollout to Begin Next Week

The free home-connectivity trial in Old Havana will end this week. Two thousand homes were eligible for the trial and I was told, off the record, that 700 people have signed contracts to pay for the service. I am not certain, but my guess is that those two thousand homes are served by a single central office that has been upgraded to offer Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) connectivity. more

An Ethnographic Study - What are Cubans Doing Online?

Aida Zekić, a student at the University of Uppsala, Sweden has published her master's thesis, "Internet in Public: an ethnographic account of the Internet in authoritarian Cuba." The thesis reports on interviews of 50 Cuban Internet users at nine WiFi hotspots in Havana during September and October 2016. She asked pre-planed, but mostly open-ended questions of 25 men and 25 women. She tried to identify people between 25 and 50 years old, but a few were a little older. more

History is Written and Revised by the Winners - Can the Internet Archive Change That?

I was naively optimistic in the early days of the Internet, assuming that it would enhance democracy while providing "big data" for historians. My first taste of that came during the Soviet coup attempt of 1991 when I worked with colleagues to create an archive of the network traffic in, out and within the Soviet Union. That traffic flowed through a computer called "Kremvax," operated by RELCOM, a Russian software company. The content of that archive was not generated by the government or the establishment media -- it was citizen journalism... more

Google Fiber in Havana - Wishful Thinking?

This post is conjecture, but it is informed conjecture... Consider the following: When Google Fiber started in Kansas City, most people assumed that it was a demonstration project, intended to spur investment by the incumbent US Internet service providers (ISPs). Few thought that Google wanted to become a retail ISP. Google Fiber garnered a lot of publicity and Google, began speaking of it as a real, profit-making business. They announced other cities and started laying fiber in some of them. more

Is the Internet Becoming a Vast Wasteland?

I've written posts about trolls in Cuba, where Operation Truth is said to use a thousand university-student trolls and trolls in China where government workers fabricate an estimated 488 million social media posts annually. Now we are reading about Russian government trolls... The fake news and trolling revealed during the last few months of the US political campaign has sowed doubts about everything we see and read online. We're beginning the transition from "critical thinking" to "paranoid thinking." more

A Real-Names Domain Registration Policy Would Discourage Political Lying

I've discussed the role of the Internet in creating and propagating lies in a previous post, noting that Donald Trump lied more frequently than Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders during the campaign. Now let's look at fake news like the claim that Pope Francis had endorsed Trump. The fake post features the following image and includes a "statement" by the Pope in which he explains his decision. more

The FCC Under Trump - A Long Shot

In May 2013, President Obama picked Tom Wheeler to head the Federal Communication Commission. The Internet community generally disapproved because Wheeler had been a lobbyist for both the cellular and cable industries and a major contributor to the Obama campaign. Internet service providers AT&T and Comcast lauded the appointment and a few months later, the President was spotted playing golf with Brian Roberts, chief executive of Comcast. more

IBM's SoftLayer Cloud Infrastructure Service Blocks Cuba - Why Now?

Cachivache Media recently reported that the Bitly URL-trimming service had stopped working in Cuba. Cubans had been using the service for several years, so this resulted in many broken links. Cachivache did not know what had happened, but published a traceroute that timed out at an Akamai router. I contacted Akamai, and they said they could not say anything -- they would only talk with their customers -- Bitly in this case. So I contacted Bitly and had an email exchange with one of their support people. more

The Digital Divide Has Persisted over the Life of the Internet

People have been trying to measure the global diffusion of the Internet and the digital divide between rich and poor nation for twenty five years. The first to do so was Larry Landweber, who noted whether or not a nation had an Internet (or other) connection. It was a binary metric -- yes or no -- and it was suitable to its time because there were only a handful of users who were restricted to teaching and research, using a few applications like email, file transfer, news groups and remote login. more

Politically Correct Rhetoric at a Technical Conference in Cuba

In a recent post, I argued that the US embargo, the poor state of the Cuban economy and fear of free information had stifled the Cuban Internet at its inception in 1996, but that twenty years later, those constraints were significantly reduced. I suggested that the Cuban Internet was being held back by mundane bureaucracy and political correctness. We got an example of that at the Latin American and Caribbean Network Information Center (LACNIC) conference in Havana this week. more

What Stopped the Cuban Internet in 1996 and What Is Stopping It Today?

The problem today is bureaucracy and its companions - fear of competition, change and stepping out of line. Cuba connected to the Internet in 1996, but three factors stifled the Cuban Net: the US embargo, economic depression during what the Cubans call the "special period" after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the Cuban government's fear of free information, which was also fed in part by the Soviet collapse. more

Communicating Emotion and Presence: From a Hole in Space to Cuba's Public-Access Hotspots

Cuba, one of the least connected nations in the world, recently created 35 public-access, WiFi hotspots around the island. While 35 hotspots is a drop in the bucket, this opening is a start and it has been noted in many articles and blog posts. Most of the coverage of the new hotspots has been lackluster and redundant, but an article last month in Miami Herald stands out because it stresses the human and emotional impact of these access points. more